This weekend I decided to test out Pokemon Go’s new buddy system. When I heard about this new feature, I was really excited. Like I explained in my post The Summer of Pokemon, as someone who works and is in grad school, I haven’t had as much time to play Pokemon Go as I did during the summer. I thought the buddy system would help me make progress toward my Pokemon goals without me running around all over the place. If only I could get paid to play Pokemon (I actually saw an ad online where someone claimed to be a professional Pokemon Go player. Can you imagine?).
Anyway, I went to a local nature trail to hike and had a Pikachu set up as my buddy. This is how the system works- for every kilometer that you walk, you get a “candy” for the Pokemon who is your buddy. This sounded great to me, especially since Pikachu are so hard to find. But after walking for about two hours, I had only gone 2.4 kilometers, which equals two Pikachu candy. This is the most progress I have made in my quest for a Raichu in weeks. However… with these two new additions, my amount is currently 17 Pikachu candy… but I need 50 candies in order for it to evolve. That means I need a total of 33 more candies, which requires that I walk 33 kilometers or the equivalent of approximately 20 miles. I am not a marathon runner. I am not the kind of person to go to the gym every day (I am terrified of treadmills and other gym equipment). I am not a sports team. I practice ballet and dance, but I can’t have my phone tucked into my leotard.
Unless I get over my fear of treadmills or a whole horde of Pikachu appear before me, it is going to take me a long time to get enough candies to evolve my Pikachu. And this is just for one one Pokemon. How long it would take me to evolve every Pokemon using this method, especially the ones that have multiple evolutions or need 100 candies to evolve?
I understand that the point of this game to get out and exercise. It is a truly wonderful invention and it has helped me be more active. However, I think the creators are expecting a little too much. Maybe an actual trainer in the Pokemon universe would need to travel 20 miles or more for a single Pokemon, but that is part of their career. The sad reality is that I live in North America, not Sinnoh or Kalos or Johto, and this career option isn’t available to me (again, if only!).
Others agree with me. I read in an article that Pokemon Go has lost about 80% of its players and I have seen speculation online that the game is dying. A big part of this is probably because kids, teens, and college students alike have all gone back to school. On the other hand, I think people have lost interest because of the lack of convenience. Even if you have the time to play, how are you supposed to find any Pokemon without a tracker?
Wandering around aimlessly gets tedious very quickly. I think Niantic kind of shot themselves in the foot by getting rid of third party options, like PokeVision. They need to do something in order for the game to stay alive. And, in fact, they are. I read an article on Pokecommunity Daily that explained some of the new features that Niantic is planning, such as battling other trainers and releasing later generations of Pokemon. This gives me some hope that Pokemon Go will continue on.
Again, I really enjoy this game and I want to continue playing it. I’m upset that lack of time and proper programming has crippled my ability to enjoy Pokemon Go fully. However, I plan to keep playing whenever I have the chance. Maybe I will confront of my anxiety about gym equipment in a desperate attempt to get the necessary candies needed for a Raichu. If you want a positive experience with Pokemon Go, read my Adventure Log, which I plan to update whenever I get the chance.
As for now… my quest for a Raichu continues.